Nothing Cheesy about this Operation

Nothing Cheesy about this Operation
Wisconsin company turns DNR requirement into a thriving wood waste operation.


Material of all sizes grinds well in the Woodhog.

It’s believed by many that everything happens for a reason and that, even though we fail to immediately see the purpose behind an event or an action, something good will come of it. Such was the case for Zblewski Brothers, LLC. Operating a growing tree service company in the late ‘70s, they’d become accustomed to bringing wood waste from their      projects back to their property to stockpile and burn. While effective, the activity eventually caught the attention of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) which told them that, because of the growing volumes, an alternative method of wood waste disposal would have to be found. To some, this would have been a deterrent to continued operation; to the Zblewski’s it ushered in a new era of growth. As the company nears its 35th year in business, it has embraced a number of different grinding and chipping technologies over the years, currently    operates a Morbark 6600 Wood Hog to replace the large scale bonfire, and has become the go-to source for landclearing in central Wisconsin. Though they haven’t formally thanked the DNR, the thought is there.

Jeremy Weber moves a load of timber into place on the way to the grinder.

Excellence in Iron
Based in Plover, WI, just outside Stevens Point, Zblewski Brothers has a rich history, much of which revolves around a continual effort to make the wood waste recycling process better through continued improvement in its equipment. According to owner Roger Zblewski, that effort started in 1978, shortly after the no burn notification from the DNR.

Consistent, ground material pours out of the discharge conveyor of Zblewski's Morbark Woodhog.

“When we realized that we would no longer be burning debris, we went to a Morbark office that was located in Tomahawk at the time and looked at a small gas powered chipper,” he says. “Knowing what we had to do in terms of volume, I told the salesman I didn’t think that was going to do it.  We decided to get a larger diesel instead and haven’t looked back since.”

He adds that a close relationship with Morbark developed, and years later when the company was working on an early design of a larger chipper, Zblewski was invited to the plant in Michigan to look at the unit, identify any problem areas, offer any  suggestions to make it better, etc.
“That’s really what we like about the company,” he says.  “They reach out to users like me to see what we think or what we’d change, and then incorporate our suggestions into their new designs. I’m fairly sure that doesn’t go on everywhere else in the industry.”

Jeremy Weber places a load of wood waste into the grinder with a Volvo L90F.

Moving up
As Zblewski Brothers’ business grew from a tree service company to one with more of an emphasis on land clearing, so too, did its choice of equipment. While chippers were fine during those early years (the company had worked its way up to a 36-inch model), larger diameter debris and a growing volume made additional moves necessary. Zblewski says a horizontal grinder made the most sense.

Even old wooden fencing material becomes a useful resource when it comes to making quality mulch and biofuel.

“By this time — it was around 1998-we had found local paper plants who were interested in our material and, for them, material size was not really a       concern since they were reprocessing the material through a hammermill at their plants. So we once again turned to Morbark and this time purchased a 5600 Wood Hog. The horizontal grinder gave us the volumes we needed to keep them supplied. With that move, I guess we were officially in the recycling    business.”
The company relied upon that 5600 for more than six years until volumes again grew to such an extent that an additional upsizing was needed. In 2004, they took delivery of a 6600 Wood Hog which is still in use today and which Zblewski says has been an amazing machine.
“The 6600 has been outstanding for us since we bought it — and we are coming up on eight years of solid use,” says Dennis Zblewski. “A good deal of that satisfaction is, obviously, because Morbark builds machines to stand up to punishment. But I also know that we maintain our equipment better than most. By comparison, we knew a local company that had an identical machine to ours and ran it into the ground by not doing any maintenance on it at all.  This is a lot different from a payloader in which the only thing that takes any punishment is the bucket. On a grinder, the whole machine is constantly working for you and it needs attention. After all this time, ours is faded, but it still runs like a top.”
Roger Zblewski stresses that they traded in their 5600 only because they needed additional volume, not because there was anything they didn’t like about the unit. “In fact, not too long ago I heard that that same machine is currently at work making boiler fuel in far northern Canada. You just can’t keep a good machine down.”
Choices abound
While they do accept material from area businesses and residents at their eight acre site, the          overwhelming majority of the material they get comes from their own landclearing projects. Zblewski says they generally operate within a 100 mile radius of their location and have a couple of options for handling the onsite debris: they can either process and load the material at the site, or haul it back to their location to be run through the grinder. Onsite work, he says can be equally varied.
“Landclearing work varies from job to job,” he says.  “But ideally we like to get in there with an excavator and our grinder, process the material, load it into trucks and send it off to the mills. Occasionally, we run into logs that need downsizing on the spot and for those cases, we contacted Wally Robison, Morbark’s regional sales manager, who hooked us up with a Morbark stump shear that we call the ‘dinosaur nose.’ It will split almost anything and  really helps keep efficiencies up for us.”
The grinding operation has grown to such an extent that, what was once an offshoot of the tree service company, is now generating roughly 500 tons of   boiler fuel per week.
“We are fortunate to have a customer who will take just about everything we can give them,” says Zblewski. “Mind you, because so much of the waste we handle is diseased wood, all of our material goes strictly for hog fuel — there really is no other use for it at that point.  However, we take the fines that are generated as a part of the grinding process, compost them and create a rich black dirt which we sell in bulk to area residents and companies. It’s a nice additional source of revenue from what was once just a waste product.”

Timber disappears into the Woodhog at this project site.

All in the family
As the name implies, Zblewski Brothers is truly a family affair. Joining Roger in the operation are his brother Fred; sons Jon and Dennis; his wife Millie who manages the office and daughter-in-law Jaclyn who works part time in their office. Jeremy Weber and Scott Skibba, laborers, round out the Zblewski Brothers team.
“Even Jeremy and Scott, who are not relatives, have been here long enough to feel like family,” says Zblewski. “We all take a lot of pride in what we do and I think that’s part of the reason we’ve been able to do this for so long. We’ve also been fortunate to have a great relationship, not just with Morbark, but also with Nortrax, our equipment dealer. Bruce Stitely, our Nortrax rep, is a former Morbark employee and has been calling on us in one form or another for more than 20 years now. That means a lot in terms of understanding our grinding needs and getting things done. All told, we’ve been really blessed to have had such great relationships over the years and look forward to what’s to come.”
For more information about Morbark products, visit their website at

Sandvik Equipment Helps Make Mall Greener

Sandvik Equipment Helps Make Mall Greener

by Virginia Varela-Eyre, marketing manager Construction Americas Sandvik Construction

A Sandvik QA440 mobile screener helps Stancills Inc. carry out ground renovations at The National Mall in Washington D.C. For some, this could be a “Picture Postcard Moment!”

The National Mall in Washington D.C., one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA, and site to presidential inaugurations and political rallies, is the country’s most visited park. With an estimated 24 million visitors a year walking on the grounds of The Mall, the soil has been so heavily trampled and compacted that grass has been hard to grow. The state of disrepair of this national symbol has long called for renovation of its grounds.
Stancills Inc. is a family owned and operated Maryland engineered soils manufacturing company located along the northern shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1934 by G.L. Stancill, a farmer from North Carolina who ventured into the business of sand and gravel mining, Stancill started with a       collection of material from gravel banks using only a shovel and a pickup truck. He funded his enterprise with savings from his four years of service in the Army.

Rich, black topsoil rolls off the conveyor of the Sandvik QA 440 tracked screening system.

In 1938, the company’s productivity grew dramatically when Stancill acquired his first mechanical shovel and by the time the Second World War broke out, G.L.’s service to his country came in the form of his business. During that time, Stancills Inc. came to be considered essential to the war effort.
As the business grew successfully, it went on to be operated by three of G.L.’s four sons. Today Stancills Inc. is run in partnership by G.L Stancill’s son Terry and Terry’s daughter Emlyn Stancill.

Emlyn and Terry Stancill specialize in quality soils like those being replaced at the US Capitol.

Changing Times
As the area grew, the market for construction materials became a very competitive one. Stancills Inc. needed a new strategy to stay ahead of the game. The demand for manufactured soil in the region,         combined with environmental legislation requiring the use of specialized soils for storm water mitigation, made the engineered soils business a worthwhile choice.
Accordingly, they chose to diversify into that      specialty and away from sand and gravel mining. This vision, combined with the attention to detail of      customers’ current and future needs, allowed the new business model to thrive. It made Stancills Inc. the engineered soil supplier of choice within the region. Most recently, this company stature proved essential in winning the contract for the topsoil screening project at the National Mall.
The task of renovating the topsoil of one of the national symbols of the USA is not a minor one. The required material specification was very fine: 1/2-inch. This material needed to be sized out from the grounds, which, over time, had accumulated a considerable amount of debris and gravel. This kind of precision screening requires a very productive and reliable machine.
The Stancills chose the Sandvik QA440, a tracked unit which features Sandvik’s unique, revolutionary, patented Doublescreen technology. “We chose Sandvik because of the competitive pricing and the (unit’s) quality of course,” says Emlyn. “But most of all, we chose the Sandvik unit because of the excellent support received from Chris Quinn, from AES. His customer service (to us) has been essential. More than a salesman, he has felt like a member of our team.”

An operator dumps a load of soil to be screened into the intake hopper of the QA 440.

The Mall jobsite
The work involved feeding the stockpiled, excavated soil directly into the hopper with a loader. The QA440’s hopper can handle up to 14.8-square-yard and can be also fed from an excavator or another screener if so configured.  In order to achieve the 1/2-inch final product size required, this machine was  fitted with 2 and 1/2-inch square meshes. The top mesh screened out oversize material, which was abundant in this project.
The unit’s Doublescreen design allows for the two screen boxes to be tilted at different angles to one another for optimum efficiency. In this application, the first box was positioned at a very steep angle in order to quickly eliminate the oversized material. Because this technology is unique in the market, it makes this machine one of the most efficient and reliable mobile screeners available.
Additionally, the QA440 boasts an impressive 20-foot x 5-foot screening area with side and main     conveyors designed for massive stockpiling capabilities of over 16-feet, 10-inches. This makes the QA440 ideal for demanding applications where production is key.
Because the unit is track mounted and self-propelled, it can be easily maneuvered within the site via remote control. That allows for easy movement and a quick start up for production in a different location. In this way, the QA440 is ideal for screening jobs where reliability, flexibility, mobility and high production are paramount. It was especially helpful on The Mall project as it is in other urban locations with restricted access.
Area Manager Chris Quinn, from Advanced Equipment, distributor for Sandvik mobile crushers and screeners in the Mid-Atlantic States, says: “Dealing with Terry and Emlyn has been an absolute pleasure. They were keen in getting the right equipment and working closely together with them in order to understand their needs has been essential. It gives me great joy to see how we have contributed to make their business prosper.”
For more information on Sandvik Construction, contact them at 404-589-2823 or e-mail: